Database systems for CSU430 Database Design - Fall 2007

Professor Futrelle - College of Computer & Information Science, Northeastern U., Boston, MA

Version of 31 August 2007

Relational database systems - MySQL and SQL Server

This page will explain how you can access or download and use some database systems, both relational and non-relational, server-based and embedded.


MySQL is the relational database system that I will use and demo in class, and the one I strongly encourage you to use. MySQL is probably the most-used database sitting behind the web servers of the world. It is open source, available in a dual licensing mode - you can download and use the full system for free, but you have to pay for commercial use. It is available for installation on over fifty platforms and architectures, including Linux, Windows, and Mac, and x86, x86_64, Intel IA64, SPARC and Power PC. It's such a straightforward install, that you might want to simply install it on your personal machine. The home site for MySQL, for information and downloads, is here.

The course page I've prepared on MySQL is here, with suggestions and screenshots of it running on various platforms.

For web serving, MySQL is part of the foundation of LAMP systems (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) that drive millions of websites. There will be a separate page on LAMP (and Ruby on Rails).

Microsoft's SQL Server 2005 - CCIS access

Professor Rasala has posted a useful guide to using the system. The College has also posted information on the ASP.NET, including information on the SQL Server (scroll down on this page). Here is another useful page about the College's SQL Server system (also called MS SQL).

I (Futrelle) am not familiar with the SQL Server and use Windows very little. I most commonly use Mac OS X and the College's Sun Solaris Unix system. So I can't be of much help if you have problems using the SQL Server. I know that many of you are experienced with Windows, so you might want to use the SQL Server. The fact that I will use MySQL as the primary example of a relational database system and the fact that it is so easy to install on Windows and is available on the College's CGI server and for whatever other platform you might use, may make MySQL a more sensible choice.

In using the SQL Server, it will be important for you to arrange for your results to be readily available for grading. That is your responsibility. On the other hand, the course TA may be able to handle SQL Server work with no problems.

Embedded databases, relational and non-relational

This section will eventually cover Oracle Berkeley DB, and its Java Edition, as well as Caché, and Hadoop.

Still more DB systems - MS Access, Filemaker Pro 9, Oracle, etc.

There will be at least brief discussions/demos of these, but I will not give elaborate information on them. The College has used Oracle in the past, but that system is not up-to-date just now. Oracle is one of the most important and widely used systems for commercial applications. At its core, it is a relational system. A huge amount of information, and any number of books, manuals, courses, etc. are available for Oracle.

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